- Jim Caple, Senior Writer, ESPN.com
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BOSTON -- Things David Ortiz has not done this postseason:
He has not hit the cover completely off the ball while pinch-hitting for Bump Bailey, smashed a foul ball through the pressbox window to break Robert Duvall's typewriter or slammed a home run into the light tower to set off an explosion of fireworks while Glenn Close watches from the boxseats.
Ortiz has, however, hit about as well as a player can without the aid of a bat named "Wonderboy" or the special effects of Industrial Light and Magic.
He hit the clinching home run in the Division Series against Anaheim. He hit a game-winning home run and a game-winning single on the same day in the championship series against the Yankees. He hit a two-run homer to give the Red Sox a lead they never surrendered in their pennant-clinching victory against New York. He's had game-winning hits in the 10th, 12th and 14th innings.
And when the World Series opened and he stepped onto baseball's biggest stage, Ortiz continued his bid for Mr. October 2004, slamming a three-run home run in his first at-bat of Boston's eventual 11-9 victory. He also hit a pitch so hard in the seventh inning that he not only knocked in a run, he knocked Tony Womack out of the game, ripping a grounder off the St. Louis second baseman's collarbone and forcing him to the hospital for X-rays.
Think about that. When was the last time you saw a batter hit a ball so hard it sent a second baseman to the hospital?
"You don't play in on the big guys," Ortiz warned with a smile.
Of course, the way Ortiz is hitting, anything short of the warning track is playing in. He's hitting .444 with 19 RBI, 11 runs and five home runs this postseason. "It's October," Ortiz said. "We've seen a lot of pitches by now. If you're not ready by October, you shouldn't be here."
Twins fans, still bruising over how they let the Division Series get away against New York, must be gnashing their teeth that their team let Ortiz get away as well for absolutely nothing. In one of their perennial cost-cutting moves, the Twins put Ortiz on waivers after the 2002 season, allowing the Red Sox to sign him and turn him into a local hero.
"David carried the Twins the second half of the season but when you play in Minnesota, no one notices or cares," Boston first baseman and former Twin Doug Mientkiewicz said. "Now he's playing here in Boston and people are able to see what a great hitter he is."
Ortiz homered in the first inning of Game 7 Wednesday to get the Red Sox rolling against the Yankees and he followed that up in the first inning Saturday by driving a 1-0 pitch from St. Louis starter Woody Williams just inside the right field foul pole to put Boston up 3-0 and send the crowd into delighted chants of "Who's Your Papi?"
The Cardinals learned their lesson, walking Ortiz on four pitches his next two plate appearances before finally retiring him on a fly to left field in the fifth inning. Then they got cocky and threw him a strike in the seventh, much to Womack's annoyance. The grounder took a wicked hop on Womack and smacked him in the collarbone.
"I lost feeling in my arm there for a while," said Womack, adding that he'll be able to play Game 2. Although he may want to wear a chest protector. And a face guard. And definitely a cup.
"I tell you what," Mientkiewicz said. "I wouldn't want to play in with David at the plate. He just hits the ball so hard."
Asked whether he feels more locked in now than he ever has in his career, Ortiz replied, "Well, in the postseason, I only have 11 RBI and during the regular season I had 139. So, no."
Actually, David, you have 19 RBI in the postseason, not 11, after collecting four on Saturday.
"I did? Damn. I'm a bad mother."
Or something like that.
"He's always able to stay relaxed with his body. He never rushes, he's always slow and controlled,'' first baseman Kevin Millar said. "He's so consistent in that way, he's remarkable."
"As a hitter, you need to know what to hit at the plate," Ortiz said. "If there isn't anything good, why swing? There's somebody coming up right after you."
Because there is no DH in the middle games of the series in St. Louis, the Red Sox will move Ortiz to first base, where he played 34 games this season. He's not a good fielder but the Red Sox need him in the lineup -- he's either scored or driven in 35 of their 77 runs this postseason.
In other words, if the Red Sox are to beat St. Louis for their first world championship in 86 years, they need to keep Ortiz and his bat in the lineup.
And away from Barbara Hershey and Kim Basinger.
Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com.
With four more RBI in Game 1 of the World Series, David Ortiz showed there's no end to his hitting rampage.